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SpaceX launches Falcon 9 rocket – and lands it!

Image: SpaceX Falcon 9 landing
The Falcon 9 rocket’s first-stage booster sets down at SpaceX’s Landing Zone 1. (Credit: SpaceX)

SpaceX launched its Falcon 9 rocket for the first time in six months today, and then brought he first-stage booster back down for a first-ever Florida landing.

“The Falcon has landed!” SpaceX’s launch commentator announced.

Hundreds of SpaceX employees cheered the touchdown at the company’s headquarters in Hawthorne, Calif. “USA! USA! USA!” they chanted.

The flight’s main objective was to send 11 satellites into low Earth orbit to boost Orbcom’s OG2 network for machine-to-machine communications. The landing attempt was a bonus, aimed at furthering SpaceX’s goal of bringing down the cost of spaceflight dramatically.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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